Palimoʻo gives it her all in wrestling


Photo by courtesy of Madeline Sylvester and @Maui808Films

Senior Ashlee Palimoʻo, team captain, Maui Interscholastic League champion, and state finisher in wrestling.

By Lauren Kalama, staff writer

Top three state wrestler Ashlee Palimoʻo has been giving it her all through her love of wrestling by overcoming obstacles and achieving her goals.

Palimoʻo has wrestled for four years, starting in her freshman year. Through losses and wins, she found the desire to work hard in wrestling. At the start of her senior year, her focus was to have fun and do better which made her want to not only train physically, but mentally.

She began by writing down her goals such as becoming team captain, becoming MIL champion, making it on the wrestling room wall, and becoming a state champion.

Although she tried to develop the right mindset, Palimoʻo had feelings of giving up on the sport due to the struggle of school and the toll wrestling took on her body and mind.

“I remember feeling like I was still the old Ashlee, and my mind was still fogged up and losing confidence in myself to keep wrestling. It was the hardest thing ever, but it got easier, but then it also got harder,” she said. “My mom kept telling me ‘keep going, keep going’ and ‘suck it up,’ and I’m so thankful for that because I love this sport so much, and if I didn’t have that kind of support then I don’t know what I’d do.”

She took on the responsibilities of a team captain, and she slowly gained back her confidence with the help of her coaches and by changing her warmup routines to include dancing.

Palimoʻo learned that “if you don’t have an element of fun in your warmups, you’re going to be so nervous, and you need to get your mind off of it before [a match].”

After winning matches throughout the round robin season, she knew that she was doing okay, practice was going well, and that it was all worth it.

Unfortunately, towards the end of the season, Palimoʻo sprained the medial collateral ligament in her knee causing her to be out of wrestling for two weeks. She worked with the trainers and was able to get back on the mat after a couple of weeks of healing to compete in the MIL Championships.

Palimoʻo became the MIL champion for the 122 lbs. girls weight division and moved onto the state tournament, placing 3rd at the 2020 Texaco/HHSAA Wrestling State Championships.

During that time, Palimoʻo said she told herself, “This is the last time I’m going to wear my shoes as a high schooler, last time I’m going to step on these mats, so why not just go all out, why not give it your all?”

She accomplished her goals of being the team captain, becoming an MIL champion, and making it on the wall of champions in the wrestling room.